UK Politics

Budget: Reaction to Osborne statement

Chancellor George Osborne has delivered what he says is a "tough but fair" Budget. Here is a round-up of political and business reaction.

HARRIET HARMAN, ACTING LABOUR LEADER

This is a Tory Budget that will throw people out of work, that will hold back economic growth and will harm vital public services.

The Lib Dem leaders have sacrificed everything they ever stood for to ride in ministerial cars. Twenty two Liberal Democrat ministerial jobs have been bought at the costs of tens of thousands of other people losing theirs.

ALISTAIR DARLING, SHADOW CHANCELLOR

I am extremely worried that everything we have heard today is predicated on growth returning in two or three years time and there is no evidence that you can guarantee that is going to take place.

SIMON HUGHES, DEPUTY LIB DEM LEADER

The Budget clearly reflects many of the tax priorities which won the Liberal Democrats almost seven million votes at the election. As a result of this Budget millions of pensioners and those on low incomes will be helped and people with greater wealth will contribute most.

Of course today's Budget required compromise, but the country can clearly see the Liberal Democrats have a major influence on UK economic policy.

BOB RUSSELL, LIB DEM MP

Less than 50 days ago, I was seeking re-election in Colchester opposed to a raise in the level of VAT.

So I am not at all happy. I need to discuss with colleagues how it is we have got into this situation.

You could argue that raising the level at which tax is going to be levied is a Liberal Democrat policy and we should rejoice at that, and clearly I do. But nevertheless, VAT is a tax which the low paid disproportionately pay more.

ANDREW TYRIE MP, CHAIR OF COMMONS TREASURY COMMITTEE

We are going to have to think through very carefully exactly how this is delivered. It is going to be quite painful and unprecedented in peace time. But the government had to be bold and had no choice.

STEWART HOSIE, SNP TREASURY SPOKESMAN

After 13 years of Labour irresponsibility, there is no doubt that the UK's finances are in a serious mess.

Now, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are embarking on an irresponsible programme of cuts.

While the Budget contained welcome measures - including consideration of a rural fuel derogation, freezing whisky duty and restoring the link between pensions and earnings - it takes massive amounts of money out of the economy risking a double dip recession.

ELFYN LLWYD, PLAID CYMRU LEADER AT WESTMINSTER

There is some very good stuff in there to be honest - raising income tax thresholds, corporation tax and so on.

All that is fine but I am very worried about the social welfare agenda. I am very worried about ordinary, vulnerable people. At the same time, the bankers got away with it.

CAROLINE LUCAS, GREEN PARTY MP AND LEADER

I just think this Budget nails the lie to any idea that if you vote blue you get green. There was hardly a single green shred anywhere in this Budget.

And so I think if you judge this Budget, both by whether it was a fair Budget or whether it was a Budget to put this economy onto a more sustainable footing, on both it fails.

LORD PEARSON, UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY LEADER

I don't think that the increase in VAT protects the most vulnerable. It clearly doesn't, it is across the board.

It would be entirely unnecessary if we weren't sending £10bn a year in cash to be entirely wasted on French cows and 2,000 eurocrats who are being paid more than the prime minister. You couldn't make it up could you?

RICHARD LAMBERT, CBI DIRECTOR GENERAL

The chancellor has achieved his twin objectives of setting out a credible plan for the public finances and producing a convincing growth strategy for the longer-term.

This Budget is the UK's first important step on the long journey back to economic health. The autumn spending review, and the re-engineering of public services, will be equally challenging.

BRENDAN BARBER, TUC GENERAL SECRETARY

This Budget got the big judgement about the economy wrong. The economy is still fragile, and today's measures will certainly slow recovery and could well stop it in its tracks.

Spending and benefit cuts together with the VAT increase will take much needed spending power out of the economy.

DAVE PRENTIS, UNISON

Public sector workers will be shocked and angry that they are the innocent victims of job cuts and pay freezes

ROBERT CHOTE, INSTITUTE FOR FISCAL STUDIES

As George Osborne said, they inherited the situation in which Labour's tightening was already implying that Labour's unprotected areas would be getting about a 20% cut.

He is now looking to a 25% cut. That is really a big amount to achieve in the course of the spending review.

MARGARET EATON, LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

This is a very tough Budget that will have far-reaching effects. Ministers need to recognise that council services, such as adult social care and safeguarding children, are as important to residents as services such as education and health when the Government makes detailed decisions on spending in the autumn.

DAVID RILEY, FITCH CREDIT RATINGS AGENCY

Our preliminary assessment of today's Budget is that it sets out an ambitious deficit reduction path that, if delivered upon, will materially strengthen confidence in UK public finances and its 'AAA' status.

BRITISH BANKERS' ASSOCIATION

We know this is a difficult Budget for everyone and the banking industry will work to meet its obligations in helping bring the economy back to strength

The banks are committed to working with the government to ensure new bank levies balance tax raising objectives with the need to keep the recovery moving.

Readers' reactions to the Budget

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